Thursday, September 30, 2010

Caden's Cause

This is the letter I will be sending shortly, and the posting currently on my fundraising website. Thanks in advance to all of you who will read and care.

Dear Friends and Family,

As many of you know, this has been a big year for me. Back in December 2009, at nearly 210 pounds, I decided that it was time to take serious steps to get my weight under control. Consequently, I started a weight-loss blog ( “Shankspeare Gets Skinny”) and on December 28, 2009, I joined Weight Watchers. I had no way of knowing how much that decision would change my life. Now, nearly ten months later and 50 pounds lighter, I am profoundly thankful to be fit and healthy.

But this letter isn't about me and the success I've been blessed with. This letter is about how I want to celebrate that success, and how I would like to ask you to celebrate with me. A couple weeks ago, a friend here in Greenville presented a tremendous opportunity to me. She had signed up to run in a marathon with T.E.A.M.-in-Training. This organization trains regular people to participate in endurance events—half marathons, marathons, and triathalons—in order to raise funds for cancer research and for families affected by cancer.

Ladies and gentlemen, please meet Caden. She is six years old, and to the Greenville T.E.A.M.-in-Training, she is a hero. For quite some time now,Caden has been battling leukemia. Around her neck, she wears a necklace that falls to her waist; the necklace is strung with tiny beads. Each bead represents a procedure that Caden has undergone. After five times passing through the same procedure, Caden no longer gets a bead for that type of procedure, yet still the chain grows. Two of the beads have pictures of little girls with curly hair on them—one bead for each time that Caden has lost all of her hair.

Today, I signed up to train and run a marathon for Caden, for her family, and for the research that will help hundreds of cancer champions like Caden. To have lost 50 pounds and to be approaching a weight that I can live with for a lifetime is a great accomplishment, but nothing compared to the GIFT of a LIFETIME. Please keep Caden and her family in your prayers as they struggle with the day-to-day fight against the ravages of leukemia. Please consider supporting me as I celebrate the gift of health by running a race to support those heroes who run a race everyday with no guarantee of a finish line. Please give generously to create a future with a cure.

I hope to have all funds raised by December 1st; however, I can receive donations right up until marathon in January. Just remember to donate before December 31st to assure that your gift will be tax deductible for 2010. Thanks to the many, many of you who have read my blog this year, and who have supported me with your love, encouragements, and prayers. I am blessed to have each one of you in my life.

With my sincere thanks,

P.S. If you would like to support Caden and the January 8, 2011 marathon, you may either make a donation on-line through Paypal at,
or you may send me a personal check or money order made out to LLS (Lymphoma and Luekemia Society). Please do not make checks out to me!

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